It is not clear whether the lack of teachers led to a decrease in number of students in schools or the fewer students made government lethargic in filling vacant posts or
rationalising the teaching faculty. To know this, special correspondent Prabhjit Singh spoke to education minister Daljit Singh Cheema. Excerpts:
Why is there a severe shortage of teachers in government schools?
The shortage is there mainly because of lack of complete rationalisation. But the situation is not so alarming, as the teacher-pupil ratio in Punjab is 17. We are holding counselling for some 4,500 newly recruited teachers.
Why have some schools been running with just a single teacher, with a service-provider manning the school instead of a regular teacher?
The number of students in such schools is low. We are doing rationalisation to use the surplus faculty in many schools. And when it comes to service-providers, they should also be treated as teachers as they do the same job. The problem mainly is in border and Kandi areas with Tarn Taran as the worst-affected district.
What is the future of these service-providers on annual contract who get a paltry Rs 7,500 per month?
Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal met Union human resource minister Smriti Irani in Delhi three days ago to press upon the Centre to regularise these service-providers as they were appointed under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and 70% of their salary component comes as the SSA funds.
Why have these service-providers not received their salaries for three months?
The Centre has scheduled a national-level meeting of its appraisal committee on April 28, after which the SSA funds would come in for their salaries as well.
What do you have to say on different categories of teachers and the gap in their salaries?
I am in favour of appointing regular teachers by the education department. The CM met the HRD minister for regularising service-providers.
When will TET pass-outs get jobs considering there are so many vacancies?
TET is just an eligibility that they fulfil, and they are being rightly considered as we are in the process of making fresh recruitments, with counselling of some 4,500 of them already on.